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GHSA to allow limited practices

Thursday afternoon the Georgia High School Association announced plans to open up conditioning for its member schools to June 8, 2020. The plan is restrictive and provides for conditioning only.

The GHSA went on to say that local school systems may decide to be more restrictive, but they will not be allowed to be less restrictive. All summer workouts are voluntary, and workouts are strictly for conditioning, with no balls or sport specific equipment involved. 

Locally the announcement caught many off guard, including Bulloch County Superintendent of Schools Charles WIlson.

“We began working on our plans for school resumption on August 3rd this week, and will continue to do so throughout the summer,” Wilson said. “The GHSA's announcement does add a new twist to things, as we do not want to stand in the way of getting things back on track, but we also all have a responsibility to be thorough, intentional, and coordinated about it. Whatever we do, our board will need to be informed and okay with it, given that local decisions are such an emphasis.”  

“I began communicating with principals Thursday and we have set up a meeting with athletic directors for later next week, following our leadership meeting to discuss larger district plans,” Wilson said. “It is unfortunate that the GHSA's release was so sudden and unexpected, but we will be asking our athletic directors to be working with principals to develop comprehensive plans for all sports at all schools to align with the district's larger plans for getting things back on track for school on August 3rd. One thing that we all know doesn't need to happen is for individual coaches to take the GHSAs message and begin doing their own thing.”

Locally, Statesboro High, Portal and Southeast Bulloch athletic directors were all trying to deal with the news, and all are awaiting decisions from the board and the superintendent before proceeding.

“We are excited that the GHSA has determined a date of June 8th for athletes returning to conditioning,” said Statesboro Athletic Director Patrick Hill. “We are working on a school safety plan for this conditioning period, and we will wait on Bulloch Schools guidance on the matter before proceeding. The health and safety of our students and staff is our primary focus.”

“PMHS plans to have conversations with the Superintendent and fellow Bulloch County Athletic Directors after the Memorial Day holiday to discuss the possibility of having conditioning activities on June 8,” said Portal Athletic Director Justin Chester. “We want to make sure that we have everything in place for a safe return. I feel as though our local officials have done a great job of communicating and executing the safety guidelines since the pandemic started. I'm very confident that our school leaders will continue to work closely with health and safety personnel on what the summer workouts need to look like, and how to properly handle various scenarios.” 

“We have met with the administration at SEB as well as with our football staff,” Davis said. “We have discussed ways we can try and implement what the GHSA has instructed us to do. We are hopeful to sit down with members of our school board and superintendent soon, in order to get everything cleared up before we present anything to our student athletes.”

A workout questionnaire was provided with questions that should be answered before a player is allowed to begin workouts. Questions included if someone has had a fever in the last week, if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19, if they have been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19, or if they have traveled to a “hot spot” for COVID 19. Coach and athlete monitoring forms were also included.

GHSA Guidlines for Team Activities

➤ All summer work is voluntary. 

➤ Schools/ School Systems may be more restrictive than the GHSA but not less. 

➤ Workouts are conditioning only, no balls or sport specific equipment.  

➤ Member schools should prepare an Infectious Disease Prevention Plan prior to staff and athletes returning to conditioning.

➤ It is recommended that staff and athletes are screened prior to each workout (see sample monitoring form attached).

➤ Signage should be posted on site with the following:

         •Do you or have you had a fever in the last week?

         •Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19?

         •Have you been in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19?

         •Have you traveled to a “hot spot” for COVID-19?

➤ Groups of 20, including coaches, for workouts per sport at any given time at the campus/facility.

➤ Groups should be the same individuals (including coaches) for each session to limit risk of exposure. Student or coaches CANNOT change groups for the duration of this guidance.

➤ No use of locker rooms or shower facilities. Students should report to the facility dressed to condition and shower at home.

➤ Weight equipment should be cleaned prior to each workout and sanitized between use by each student. 

➤ Hand sanitizer should be plentiful and readily available. 

➤ Each student should have their own personal water bottle. No use of water fountains or “water cows” is allowed.

➤ Side spots only in weight training, safety bars are preferred. 

➤ Social distancing should be adhered to always and masks/face covering are recommended for the weight room. 

➤ At least 15 minutes should be scheduled between groups to allow for disinfecting the facility.

➤ There is no competition allowed between schools. 

➤ No visitors are allowed at conditioning sessions